What do you think about the word “wholesome?” Can a person be wholesome? What if someone mentioned that they wouldn’t go to a particular shopping establishment because the people who shop there aren’t exactly “wholesome.”
Now, let me say I’m pretty picky when it comes to deciding which store I shop at. My pickiness is more based on quality of products, competitive pricing, and having a wide variety of products to chose from.
But defining where you will and will not shop by the “type” of people who go there is troublesome – especially for anyone who claims to align with the teachings of Jesus. Just think of all the non-wholesome folks Jesus made it a point to associate with:
- the woman at the well who had 5+ husbands, was a despised Samaritan, and drawing well water at noon probably to avoid the criticism/despise of other women (John 4)
- Lepers, outcast and forced to live in seclusion, especially another Samaritan whom He healed (Luke 17)
- Zacchaeus, a corrupt tax collector, seen as a traitor for working for the Roman Empire (Luke 19)
Not to mention the countless stories and parables featuring all the non-wholesome people who got it right compared to the “wholesome” people who missed the point:
- the Good Samaritan, despised by Jews, but managed to out-do the priest and Levite (Luke 25)
- the wedding banquet at which people, both good and bad, are pulled in off the street to attend when the invited refuse to show (Matthew 22)
- the Pharisees, who were the upright, respectable, overtly religious people of the day that Jesus referred to as greedy, wicked, and neglectful of the love of God (Luke 11)
What’s even more troublesome is saying that the same non-wholesome people (whom God created and loves) are not worthy of a local church that will proclaim the Gospel and administer grace to any and all.
Reminds me of a recent tweet by @RickWarren:
“You don’t get to chose who you’ll love, forgive & show respect to if you claim to follow Jesus. It must be everybody.”